Bullying and victimization of primary school children in England and Germany: prevalence and school factors

Br J Psychol. 2001 Nov;92(Pt 4):673-96. doi: 10.1348/000712601162419.


Differences in definitions and methodologies for assessing bullying in primary school children between countries have precluded direct comparisons of prevalence rates and school factors related to bullying. A total of 2377 children in England (6-year-olds/Year 2: 1072; 8-year-olds/Year 4: 1305) and 1538 in Germany (8-year-olds/Year 2) were questioned individually using an identical standard interview. In both countries the types of bullying to victimize others were similar: boys were most often perpetrators, most bullies were also victims (bully/victims), most bullying occurred in playgrounds and the classroom, and SES and ethnicity only showed weak associations with bullying behaviour. Major differences were found in victimization rates with 24% of English pupils becoming victims every week compared with only 8% in Germany. In contrast, fewer boys in England engaged every week in bullying (2.5-4.5%) than German boys (7.5%), while no differences were found between girls. In England, children in smaller classes were more often victimized. Further study of the group of bully/victims, schooling differences in England vs. Germany and implications for prevention of bullying are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Conduct Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Conduct Disorder / psychology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Schools*
  • Students / psychology*